Talking about the demise of The X Factor is becoming a seasonal tradition. We’re in season 9 now and the show is no longer the phenomenon it was in its youth. The decline has been steady over recent years, but this year, it’s positively haemorrhaging audience. The show is now caught up in weekly ratings comparison with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. This week ‘Strictly’ emerged victorious for the fourth week in a row.

The X Factor Decline

And the trend is the same here in Ireland. Year on year on year, The X Factor is in decline. But what’s particularly interesting this year is not only the overall trend, but the fact that the audience is slipping away week by week. This is an altogether new worry for the show’s producers; in previous years the show could be relied upon to gather audience as it neared its finale.

It’s hard to put a finger on what it is about this year that is causing so much grief for The X Factor. The hype around the show is such that it’s difficult to tell if a ratings drop is caused by a reaction to a specific event, or if it was happening anyway. Last  week, Ella Henderson, a ‘favourite’ was voted off the show. What followed (at least in the media outlets where attention is paid to such things) can only be described as public outcry. A ratings decline followed. Did one cause the other? Who knows? Shock evictions have happened throughout the show’s history; the shock has worn off and the ratings haven’t plummeted.

So what’s going wrong this year? Are viewers just bored? 2012 has had its crooner, its belter, something for the cool kids, some rock and roll and two boybands. There should be something there for everyone. And regardless, the show’s writers probably have more to do with how much we like or dislike the contestants than they do themselves. But this year, the show seems to lack that which made it into to the TV giant it has been. It’s lacked…well…The X Factor.

Is it the panel? It might just be. Arguably, the panel is more packed with A list talent than ever before, but they’re all so nice to each other, it’s hard to remember where the show started out. Where is the tension, the intrigue, the infighting?  Sharon Osbourne was no Nicole Sherzinger, but at least she threw glasses of water of Louis Walsh’s head and accused him of taking her husband’s drugs.

Simon Cowell

And then, there’s the Simon factor. Gary does his best to channel Mr. Nasty, but his attempts at world-weary viciousness just don’t measure up. According to the Daily Mail, Simon Cowell is considering coming back to the UK for next year. If he comes back, is it possible to recover the audience that’s been lost? I wonder. If it’s to thrive again, The X Factor needs to stop playing it safe and get out of the middle of the road.





Movember – Just Say Mo

November 20, 2012


From it’s humble beginnings in Melbourne nine years ago Movember has grown to become a global movement with almost 2million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas taking part around the world. This phenomenon is responsible for the sprouting of unsightly moustaches on thousands of Irish mens faces but also for raising a staggering €92.4 million for prostate cancer in 2011! This year (to date) the campaign has raised €44.8 million and Ireland is certainly holding its own. According to the official leaderboard Ireland are currently ranked 5th behind Canada, the UK, Australia and the US in terms of how much has been raised. 

A strong social media presence including official Twitter and Facebook accounts has undeniably boosted awareness of the campaign. Between the 1st and 19th of November Movember has generated 1,382,268 mentions across social media platforms. November 1st alone accounted for in excess of 359,000 posts, this has since levelled out to an average of 56,000 posts a day. Image


And it’s not just the boys who are getting involved, there are plenty of Mo Sistas getting in on the action too. A Mo Sista is essentially any woman who loves a Mo, who cares for and is dedicated to supporting a Mo Bro through their Movember journey. The number of Mo Sistas is on the up and they are certainly holding their own. They currently account for over 38% of the Movemeber conversations taking place online. Image

While the campaign has certainly found a home online, plenty is happening offline in support of Movember. Around the world (and in Ireland) the end of Movember is marked with a series of Gala parties. These events are a thank you to Mo Bros and Mo Sistas for their fundraising efforts and also an opportunity for the Mo Bros to show off their moustaches. 

The Dublin Mo Run which took place on the 17th of November in Phoenix was the biggest Mo Running event around the world with over 1,700 runners taking part all in a bid to change the face of men’s health. 

While I’m about as partial to a moustache as the next girl, this is one tache I’m willing to support…






Taking Imagination Seriously

November 13, 2012

This week, we’re bringing you another great video from TED. Janet Echelman talks about finding her true voice as an artist, when her paints went missing and she was forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material.
She wanted to go from creating ‘something that you look at to something you get lost in’. As advertisers, our clients are often looking to do the same.
While watching the video, we drew many parallels between her story and how to create innovative advertising solutions. The key to creativity in advertising is to look at things differently. Every day, we get new briefs in from clients, all with their own challenges to overcome and objectives to meet. In a world where the media landscape is constantly changing, we’re always looking for new approaches to traditional challenges. How can we get people to notice our ads in a cluttered market? How can we help to differentiate our clients from their competitors? The solution is often simple, in theory – ‘be different, use your imagination!’
Janet took inspiration from some fishermen and wanted to create sculptures from netting. Even though she had nailed her concept, she came up against some challenges with the materials she was using. How could she make them durable yet fluid? In order to overcome these, she formed a partnership with a netting manufacturer, working closely to create a bespoke product to suit her needs.
Just like Janet, we want people to engage with messages instead of just noticing them and just like her we often meet logistical challenges in making that happen. But there were two key things that she did, that we can all learn from. She didn’t stop believing that it could be done, and partnered up with a specialist to make it happen!



Founded by an Austrian, headquartered in Austria and their most recent ground breaking campaign led by an Austrian. It seems Red Bull are all about staying true to their roots and most of all, their adrenaline fuelled culture.

Red Bull burst onto the scene back in 1987 (not reaching Ireland for about another ten years and was a brand new product in a brand new category). Their marketing strategy was unconventional and their product drew plenty of criticism due to its perceived detrimental health effects. To date, none of the accusations have proved conclusive and Red Bull remains the original energy drink. However, in recent years the brand has been floundering somewhat with the influx of copycats. The struggle was also evident in their sales tactics which have altered to mass distribution whereas in the past, it was limited to maintain the mysteriousness behind the brand.

So the company needed something new, something fresh. Something that would re-awaken the population to the world of Red Bull in just the same way it did when it was launched. Insert Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space. On the 14th of October 2012, we witnessed an event which broke three world records in one sitting (or jump, rather). Felix Baumgartner, a former Austrian Air Force pilot jumped from a balloon which rose to 128,000 feet. The mission incorporated every single type of media out there today in both the run up to and execution of the event. TV, print, online, digital, you name it, the event was covered by it.

The jump itself was streamed on over 150 websites and through multiple smart phone apps. It was watched by over eight million people worldwide (setting another record for the largest number of concurrent web streams). To date, it has accumulated over 27 million views on YouTube. It was covered online via the Red Bull Stratos website and through their own various social media outlets. The BBC will be doing a two-hour long documentary on the entire project which is due to be aired on November 4th. The print element comes into play via the Red Bulletin, Red Bulls very own magazine. 3.1 million localised copies per month are distributed 4 different languages, in 11 countries across multiple continents.

The record for the highest free-fall had been held since 1976 by Col. Joseph Kittinger, a former US Air Force pilot. Not only was this record broken, it was smashed, along with two more;

– First free-fall to break the sound barrier (Felix’s top speed was 1342.8 km/h or Mach 1.2).

– Highest manned balloon flight (128,097 feet).

This event has been a success for Red Bull on an unprecedented scale. It has contributed to science and space exploration, building on Red Bulls CSR strategy. The jump will go down in history and no doubt in those history books there will be pictures. And in those pictures will be Fearless Felix, who’s space suit and capsule were plastered in Red Bull logos.

So if you’re trying to come up with a campaign to incorporate the young and the old, the new and the used, the traditional and non-traditional, look no further than the team at Red Bull.

Just in case you missed it, watch the video here:




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